In the lead-up to Richmond’s 2020 premiership-decider against Geelong at the Gabba on Saturday night, Tony Greenberg presents his top 12 Tiger Grand Final memories . . .
1. Exciting 19-year-old key forward, Royce Hart, in his debut season of league football, soars spectacularly above Geelong backman Peter Walker to take one of the greatest, most famous marks in the competition’s history, during the frenetic final quarter of the epic 1967 Grand Final encounter.
2. John Ronaldson, called up to replace suspended ruck star Neville Crowe, becomes (to paraphrase David Bowie) “a hero, just for one day”, kicking three inspirational goals that help propel the Tigers to victory in the ’67 GF.
3. Eric Moore produces a mighty act of bravery just before the three-quarter-time siren in the 1969 Grand Final against Carlton, which is the catalyst for the Tigers’ barnstorming finish that day. Moore, playing at full-forward, has to wait under a floating ball close to goal, while a trio of desperate Blues’ defenders converge on him. He holds his ground, drags down the mark, despite being crunched by the three opponents, gets to his feet, and then coolly slots a team-lifting six-pointer.
4. Billy Barrot, shifted to full-forward during the tense last quarter of the ’69 GF, lunges to take a mark on the half-forward flank (Members’ stand side of the MCG) and excitedly throws the ball high into the air, as if he’d just taken a crucial slips catch for Australia’s Test cricket team. He subsequently slams through a spectacular 65-metre goal, which sends Yellow and Black barrackers into raptures.
5. ‘Little’ Laurie Fowler takes on the role of ‘David’, and cuts down Carlton’s ‘Goliath’, John Nicholls, in a dramatic collision during the opening term of the 1973 Grand Final. Although ‘Big Nick’ gets to his feet and kicks a goal from the resultant free kick, his influence throughout the rest of the match is negligible, which is a huge plus for the Tigers.
6. Kevin Sheedy sets the scene early on Richmond’s ‘day of atonement’ in the 1973 Grand Final, following its shock loss to the Blues in the premiership-decider 12 months earlier. Sheedy kicks all three of the Tigers’ first-quarter goals in the ’73 GF in a stirring solo effort.
7. Cunning K. Sheedy lines up for goal on a tight angle during the second quarter of the 1974 Grand Final against North Melbourne, runs in to take his kick, but at the last second, handballs over the top to an unattended Michael Green on the goal line, who pops it through and, in the process, takes the wind right out of the Roos’ sails.
8. Barry Richardson, full-back in Richmond’s 1969 premiership side, seals victory for the Tigers in the ’74 Grand Final with a superb four-goal last-quarter blitz from full-forward that takes his tally for the day to five.
9. Kevin Bartlett runs riot in the 1980 Grand Final against Collingwood, kicking seven goals in an exceptional exhibition and winning the Norm Smith Medal for being best afield. His seventh goal, where he turns hapless Magpie defender Stan Magro inside out, bursts clear, and steers it through the big sticks, is an all-time classic.
10. Richmond superstar Dustin Martin caps off one of the most outstanding individual seasons in AFL/VFL history by winning the Norm Smith Medal as best-on-ground in the 2017 premiership-decider against Adelaide. Martin has 29 disposals, with 22 contested possessions, six clearances, three inside-50s and kicks two goals in a totally dominant display.
11. In an incredible 2019 Grand Final fairytale story, mature-age recruit Marlion Pickett makes his senior debut for Richmond on football’s biggest stage against Greater Western Sydney, and he produces a stunning performance – 22 disposals, one goal, a brilliant blind turn, and third place in the Norm Smith Medal voting.
12. Dusty does it again on Grand Final day, winning a second Norm Smith Medal for his superb showing v the Giants – 22 disposals, 12 contested possessions and four trademark, inspirational goals.